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‘Empire’ series comes to abrupt end due to pandemic

Terrence Howard at the FOX TV “Empire” premiere event in Los Angeles, California. (Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Kathy Hutchins)

Empire” will end prematurely on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

The popular hip-hop drama was always intended to finish at the end of its current sixth season, but after the global health pandemic forced filming to be shut down, it will now end on episode 18 of the finale series.

The FOX show’s writers Lee Daniels and Danny Strong have issued separate statements to Deadline confirming the abrupt ending of the show, but said they hope that one day they can “give the series its proper conclusion.”

Daniels said: “The success of ‘Empire’ and bringing the Lyon family to broadcast television will always be one of the proudest achievements of my career.

“This show is the definition of breaking barriers.

“Thank you to our incredible cast, especially Terrence Howard, (Lucious Lyon) and Taraji P. Henson, (Cookie Lyon), along with our amazing writers and tireless crew, for all of their hard work and bringing this story to life.

“I think there’s more to do with these characters, and I’m heartbroken we aren’t getting to shoot the finale we wanted —at least not yet.

“But you know what they say in television? Stay tuned! To the Empire!”

Strong added: “We’re so proud of this show and of everything this incredible cast — led by Taraji and Terrence — and crew accomplished over six seasons.

“The episode airing on April 21 was never meant to be the series finale, but due to current events, it will likely be the last one our fans will see for a while.

“We had an ending for the series planned that we all loved, and hopefully someday we’ll be able to film it and give the series its proper conclusion.

“But we hope everyone tunes in to our last original episode because the work done by our cast and crew deserves to be seen by the widest audience possible.

“Big thank you to Fox for being our home for these many years.

“And here’s hoping this isn’t the end!”

The penultimate episode, 19, was believed to be halfway through shooting before the enforced shutdown.

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